LEAMINGTON FC saw their winless run extended to seven matches after suffering a 2-1 home defeat against Alfreton Town.
Dan Turner scored a second-half penalty for Leamington after Conor Branson’s goal put Alfreton ahead and Jack Lane put through his own net at the Your Co-Op Community Stadium.
The result means Leamington drop to 18th in the National League North table with three matches left to play this season.
Leamington had the first chance of the game when Joe Clarke fired a half-volley wide of the target before Jack Edwards’ powerful header from Dan Meredith’s cross was well-saved by Alfreton goalkeeper George Willis.
However, the visitors took the lead with their first effort on target on 44 minutes as Branson unleashed an unstoppable half-volley from the edge of the penalty area after Adam Lund’s long throw was cleared into his path.
And Alfreton looked to double their lead early in the second half when veteran striker Matt Rhead lofted an effort onto the roof of the net before Bailey Hobson shot straight at Brakes keeper Callum Hawkins.
Alfreton eventually extended their lead on 64 minutes when former Town man Lane diverted the ball into his own net from a corner from the right despite claiming a push as he tried to clear the danger.
However, Leamington were handed a lifeline on 75 minutes when substitute Junior English was fouled in the box by Dwayne Wiley and Turner blasted the resulting spot kick home for his 16th goal of the season.
The Brakes were unable to find an equaliser and have now failed to score from open play since their 1-0 home win against Guiseley eight matches ago.
Leamington boss Paul Holleran said: “We’re frustrated, I think when we look back at the goals we will be even more so.
“Alfreton are a very good, functional team, it’s the second time they have come here this season and deserved to beat us – that’s the bottom line – and they’ve got all types of weapons in their armoury.
“We’ve got to defend that set play better before half time, they’ve come out with their tails up but we’ve got to hang in there.
“The biggest thing about us is that we haven’t defended our box well enough. We haven’t defended set plays enough – it’s as simple as that. The second goal is a farce – we’ve made umpteen mistakes.
“The game itself was difficult. We can’t be giving goals away like we are because teams like Alfreton give nothing away. We gave ourselves a glimmer of hope with the penalty, but it’s difficult to get the ball down and get it into wide areas.
“There’s no way of me glossing over it really other than to say it was a tough afternoon. The best team won and we’ve got to do better.”
Leamington are next in action away at Curzon Ashton on Saturday, March 30 with kick-off at 3pm at Tameside Stadium.